New Publication: “Right to consultation and consent of the Indigenous, Quilombola, and Traditional Communities in Brazil”

March 3, 2017

Brasilia and Washington D.C., March 3, 2017

The Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) and the Network of Cooperation for the Amazon (RCA, for its name in Portuguese) today launched a report entitled “Right to consultation and consent of the Indigenous, Quilombola, and Traditional Communities in Brazil.” The right to free, prior, and informed consultation and consent (FPIC) is established in the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of the International Labor Organization (ILO 169), in the UN and American Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and has been reaffirmed in various pronouncements by international human rights bodies.

FPIC has been recognized internationally as an important human right that establishes a more symmetric and respectful relationship between States and indigenous and tribal peoples. However, in Brazil and throughout the world, it continues to be a challenge to guarantee the effective participation of indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant communities, and traditional communities in deliberations by the state on issues that impact these communities directly. The book authored by DPLF and RCA demonstrates that the right to FPIC continues to be violated in Brazil by the executive and legislative branches, with additional serious obstacles presented by the judiciary.

The challenges for the implementation of the right to FPIC are related to misinterpretations and ignorance regarding the rights-holders, the situations where the right applies, the timing for its implementation, and the appropriate methods and aims of a free, prior, and informed consultation process. Therefore, decisions, projects, and government programs, as well as legislative initiatives, have been approved without due information and consideration of the communities and peoples affected.

This book presents emblematic cases that illustrate how a set of recent administrative and legislative measures, about which no consultations with affected communities took place, implies violations of the right of autonomy and the territorial rights of indigenous and tribal peoples. The study identifies that, in Brazil, government decisions and programs, laws and legislative initiatives, and jurisprudence are inconsistent with respect to the understanding and implementation of the right to FPIC, especially in cases involving large-scale projects.

The study was written by Biviany Rojas, Erika Yamada, and Rodrigo Oliveira; reviewed by Daniel Cerqueira (DPLF); edited and reviewed by Luis Donisete (RCA). Its publication was supported by the Rainforest Foundation Norway. The report was presented on March 3, 2017 in the city of Santarém, Pará state, Brazil. In the coming weeks, presentations will be made in other regions of the country, in which indigenous leaders, quilombolas, civil society organizations, academic centers and state entities will participate.